I am a U.S. citizen and I married a foreign national. Can I sponsor my step child for a green card?

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If you are a U.S. citizen, you may sponsor certain members of your family for a green card. You may either sponsor your immediate relatives or certain other members of your family under the family based preference categories.

Let’s analyze the following scenario:

John is a U.S. citizen and he married Andrea, a German citizen. Andrea has a child from her previous marriage, Frank. John wants to sponsor both Andrea and Frank for a green card.

Can John sponsor Frank for a green card?

This will depend on the age of the child at the time the marriage occurred. If John and Andrea married before Frank turned 18, then John can sponsor Frank for a green card under the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen category as Frank will meet the definition of child under immigration law (unmarried person under the age of 21 who has not reached the age of eighteen years at the time the marriage creating the status of stepchild occurred). If John and Andrea got married after Frank turned 18, then John could not sponsor Frank for a green card under the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen category.

However, once Andrea becomes a green card holder, she could sponsor Frank under the F2A family based preference category (children of green card holders who are unmarried and under 21 years of age) or F2B family based preference category (unmarried children who are 21 years or older of green card holders).

If Frank is married and older than 21, Andrea will be able to sponsor him under the F3 preference category for a green card once she becomes a U.S. citizen.

becomes a U.S. citizen, she can sponsor Frank under the

Please click here to read our blog post on How to maintain your green card.

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